OSKALOOSA, Iowa – President Barack Obama continued his three-day Iowa campaign tour Tuesday by shifting his focus to attacks against Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, over alternative energy issues.
Mr. Obama zeroed in on wind energy, one of this battleground state’s signature industries, seizing on a new Energy Department that says Congress’ failure to extend wind-energy tax credits by the end of the year would dramatically slow growth in an industry that supports about 75,000 jobs.
The president criticized Mr. Romney for wanting to end wind-energy tax credits and mocked the Republican candidate’s assertion that “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.” He joked: “I don’t know if he’s actually tried that. I know he’s had other things on his car,” Mr. Obama said, referring to a now-notorious road trip in which the Romney family dog traveled in a carrier on the roof.
“He’s said new sources of energy like wind are ‘imaginary.’ His running mate calls them a ‘fad,’” Mr. Obama told a crowd at a farm here. “But if he really wants to learn something about wind, all he has to do is pay attention to what you’ve been doing here in Iowa.”
Mr. Obama noted that the wind industry supports roughly 7,000 jobs in the state and generates about 20% of its electricity. He renewed his call for an end to government subsidies for oil companies and more bolstering of alternative energy sources. Republicans have opposed ending subsidies for oil companies, which Mr. Obama has proposed numerous times since taking office.
Romney campaign spokesman Brendan Buck said Mr. Romney “is a strong supporter of wind power” and would find other ways to promote the industry.
Both candidates are battling for votes in the Midwest, including Iowa and Ohio, where Mr. Romney was campaigning Tuesday.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to campaign in Iowa through Wednesday. His bus tour is a mix of stump speeches and unannounced retail politicking stops. He stopped for a snow cone and dropped by the Iowa State Fair Monday to shake hands and try a pork chop on a stick. He began Tuesday morning with a workout at a local gym and some muffins and cinnamon rolls at a coffee shop on the town square in Knoxville.
He’s scheduled to hold events in Marshalltown and Waterloo later Tuesday.
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